THIS USED TO BE THE FUTURE: Daddy Likes The Googie

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

So my current obsession - and it has been for probably most of the last year - is a more or less extinct style of architecture/design with the unfortunate name of "Googie." (So labeled because the first known example of it is a Los Angeles coffee shop called "Googies") Also known as "Populuxe," and a variety of even worse names, it was an outgrowth of the Streamline Moderne movement which, depending on who you talk to, was either an outgrowh of Art Deco, or a subset of Art Deco, or a completely independent design school that was concurrent to Art Deco. (It's kind of like trying to separate the greco-roman pantheon: Nobody knows whos gods came first , and it's kinda' pointless to be pedantic about it)

Anyway, the design style involved cantelevers, swooping angles, lots of curves if you could fit 'em in, somewhat fluid shapes, and, in the larger examples, a deliberately monochromatic color scheme. The two largest examples would be the old TWA terminal in New York

and the Space Needle in Seattle
Which obviously was the inspiration for the visual style of The Jetsons.

and the Saint Louis Arch

You also get a bit of it at Dulles airport

Here's a Googie-styled church

Here's a googie lobby in Massachusetts

Probably the biggest, most famous slab of Googie, however, is Tomorrowland, before it got the gay retro-future-Science-fiction-as-imagined-by-people-who've-never-watched-a-science-fiction-movie refurbishment in the 90s. Travesty. Before that, though, you had gorgeous stuff like this:
and these beautiful fountains, since torn down
(They didn't always have this paintjob. Depending on the year, sometimes they were white, sometimes the fountain was white and the background was blue, or vice versa)

And of course Space Mountain:

Disney was, for a time, completely nuts on the style. Check out the Contemporary Resort Hotel, circa 1972
The monorails themselves are obviously Googie as all heck, with their swooping lines, and vaguely plastic look.

There's even some Googie touches to the mighty, mighty Saturn V
and even moreso in its designed-but-never-built follow up, the Saturn VIII
These are probably coincidental, since the Googie style was intended to look spacey and futuristic, and borrowed a lot from the aviation and space industries.

The greatest example, however, would have been Walt Disney's original plan for E.P.C.O.T. (Not to be confused with its modern-day pale imitation, "Epcot"), which was intened to be a designed-from-scratch ultra-modern city of 20,000 people. This was intended as a sort of living laboratory to check out new methods of design, transportation, urban services, and so on. The dream didn't survive his death, but check this out:
Here's a church from the model
And here's a detail shot of the central downtown complex

Here's Monsanto's "House of the Future" built in 1957
and here's the interior floor plan
and here's an interior of the living room
and dining room

Did you notice the furniature? Googie was a total design philosophy, not just an architectural one, so they did furniature, art, utensils, all that stuff.

Now, if all this seems a bit familiar, it's because you may be a geek like me, in which case you've been exposed to a lot of it casually though entertainment. For instance:
The flying sub from Voyage to the Bottom of the sea

Or the Spindrift from "Land of the Giants"
(Please note: Giant Bikini-Clad Deanna Lund not included with theatrical miniature. Still: Hubba. )
Exterior of the full-size set
a model kit:

and the Jupiter II from "Lost in Space"
(Which bears some obvious similarities to Monsanto's "House of the Future.")
The vehicle - 'The Chariot' - is also pretty firmly in the design school, though admittedly on the uglier end of it.

Pretty much all the interior sets on "The Prisoner" were Googie
(Check out the phones on the table there)

But probably the most famous example is the original Star Trek. Unfortunately I could find eleventy-jillion shots of the bridge, but I couldn't find any decent ones of the rest of the ship. Suffice to say: the big curved main hallway, the built in furniature and plastic chairs in the cabins, the randomly non-rectilinear conference table, the outward-swept walls with the fluid curving beams, and the decorative lighting fixtures, not to mention that split-level engine room with the forced perspective engine tube in the background, and the heavy reliance on decorative grillework: All very good examples of the Googie style (And no, I'm not gonna' stop using that word.) Still, as all of us have seen this stuff ad nauseam, I don't feel too bad about not being able to find pictures. Well, I did find one good one of the conference table:

Another high-budget example is Stanley Kubric's 2001: A Space Odyssey, as you can see from this official trailer here
and there are a number of examples in "A Clockwork Orange," but given the nature of that film, I'm just gonna' skip over it.

Probably the last really good example of it is the generally awful "Space: 1999" series (1973-75) but the whole of Moonbase Alpha was a masterwork of the style
and check out the plastic furniature and colored lighting

I've focused on the SF examples because I'm a geek, but there's scads and scads of 'em, particularly in spy movies from the period.

So, anyway, that's what I'm into. So: Whadya' think?